STANFORD, Calif. - No. 12 Duke ended its season on Thursday with a 4-1 loss to No. 6 Georgia in the NCAA Round of 16 in Stanford, Calif.
The Blue Devils concluded the year with a 22-10 overall record. It was the second straight season Duke advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships.
"Georgia played a great match and I thought it was highly competitive throughout," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We did a good job putting ourselves in position to win the doubles point with it coming down to the No. 1 spot and then we won four first sets in singles so we did some good things. I thought we competed really hard and am proud of the guys for leaving it all out on the court."
The doubles point came down to a match between two top 10 teams at the No. 1 position after Duke and Georgia split the two and three spots. The match stayed on serve until late. Georgia looked as if they were going to break for the match when they were up 7-6 and 40-love, but No. 7 Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha of Duke fought off three match points to eventually take the game and keep the match going. After the next changeover, the Blue Devils fought off one more match point before No. 6 Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters got the break to take the match 9-7.
Duke got a win at the No. 2 doubles spot when David Holland and Chris Mengel earned their second win of the season against a ranked opponent. The two Blue Devils downed No. 88 Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada, 8-4, to improve to 18-15 for the year.
Duke got off to a good start in singles, winning four of the six first sets. Georgia was the first to finish a singles match, however, as Drake Bernstein made the team score 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-4 win at the No. 4 spot.
Mengel cut the lead in half with a straight set win in singles. He capped off a great individual day by earning his fifth win over a ranked opponent this season. Mengel defeated No. 51 Doumbia 6-2, 6-4.
"Chris did a great job in doubles and in singles," said Smith. "I think the way he played in doubles set the tone for his singles match. It was huge for us when he got that first set and then the second to tie the team score."
Mengel finished his terrific freshman season with a 33-11 record in singles and 22-16 overall doubles record. The 33 singles victories tied for fourth most by a freshman in school history with Geoff Grant (1988-89). The 22 doubles wins rank 10th on the freshman list.
"Chris has been phenomenal all year and over the last half of the season he established himself as one of the best players at the No. 3 position in the country," said Smith.
Duke had chances in each of the other four matches but could not pull out any victories. Henrique Cunha went up a break early in his second set but was unable to hold the lead and suffered a 6-4, 6-3 loss to No. 18 Wil Spencer. Reid Carleton won his first set and led 4-3 in the second but No. 32 Javier Garrapiz would take three straight games to force a third set. Torsten Wietoska was up 5-4 in the second set after winning the first but wound up losing in a tiebreaker 7-6 (2) to head into the third set. Luke Marchese won his first set 6-4 but Pieters came back to take the final two sets 6-3, 6-2 to clinch the match for the Bulldogs and send them on to the quarterfinals.
Carleton and Cunha will still be competing in the NCAA singles and doubles championships. The individual competitions will start on Wednesday, May 25, the day following the team championship finals.
Tennis Match Results
Duke vs Georgia
May 19, 2011 at Stanford, Calif.
#6 Georgia 4, #12 Duke 1
1. #6 Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. #7 Reid Carleton/Henrique Cunha (Duke) 9-7
2. David Holland/Chris Mengel (Duke) def. #88 Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (UGA) 8-4
3. Drake Bernstein/Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Fred Saba/Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 8-5
1. #18 Wil Spencer (UGA) def. #8 Henrique Cunha (Duke) 6-4, 6-3
2. #32 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) vs. #13 Reid Carleton (Duke) 3-6, 6-4, 0-1, unfinished
3. Chris Mengel (Duke) def. #51 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) 6-2, 6-4
4. Drake Bernstein (UGA) def. Fred Saba (Duke) 6-4, 6-4
5. Ignacio Taboada (UGA) vs. Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 1-0, unfinished
6. Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Luke Marchese (Duke) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Duke 22-10; National ranking #12
Georgia 23-5; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,3,1,6)